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Augusta welcomes first female members
Augusta National Golf Club has broken with tradition by adding the first two female members in its 80-year history.
Augusta National, which has played host to The Masters since 1934, has faced calls to reconsider its policy of an all-male membership for some time, and the club has now made the historic move by allowing former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to join.
Club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement: "This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club.
"We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this [autumn].
"This is a significant and positive time in our club's history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family."
Rice, who along with Moore, will become the first women in green jackets when the course opens for a new season in October, was the national security advisor under former President George W Bush before making the transition to Secretary of State.
Currently a professor of political economy at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, the 57-year-old said: "I am delighted and honoured to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club. I have visited Augusta National on several occasions and look forward to playing golf, renewing friendships and forming new ones through this very special opportunity."